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Saturday, June 3, 2023

About the independence monument and the fighters for peace

By: Borut Korun

While we are still discussing the abolition of the Museum of Slovenian Independence, I would like to remind you that this discarded act is neither the first nor the only one of its kind.

A monument to the TIGR members, fighters for the western border, was erected years ago. The majestic white tower, visible from all sides, should be called the Monument to the Defenders of the Slovenian Land. (I have to say immodestly that I am also one of those Slovenians who contributed quite a bit of money to the erection of this monument.) However, this monument on Cerje is not dedicated to the TIGR struggle for Slovenehood, but to the First World War. It is called the Peace Monument. The monument, the museum in it and all the symbolic content of this undertaking is not in the spirit of the then defence against Italianisation and national oppression of Slovenes. Little is known about TIGR members and their struggle. Even worse! With this theft and with the renaming, the TIGR suddenly became some kind of fighters for peace.

I learned about the fighters for peace already in primary school. One day, the janitor found a bunch of large colourful flyers in the school attic and distributed them to us elementary school students after class, and we were very happy with the beautifully made, colourful posters. The only thing that was a bit embarrassing was that the propaganda leaflets were made in Nazi times. Since then, they have been waiting in the attic, and our janitor, not realising what he was doing, has been handing them out. The poor janitor could have paid dearly for his ignorance.

I got a flyer too. It read in large black and gold letters: Wir sprechen nich vom Frieden, wir kämpfen dafür. Translated: We do not talk about peace; we fight for it.

That is how I learned then that the Nazis were also fighters for peace. I understood that, or rather I thought I understood, because the saying “to fight for peace” was familiar to me. The children were already told that Yugoslavia was led by a great fighter for peace – Marshal Tito. We knew that for this purpose he travels around the world with his Galeb, accompanied by two destroyers and hundreds of people who tried to make Comrade Marshal and his Jovanka nice and comfortable and that he could devote himself to the fight for peace. Every trip he made, every performance, every speech, everything fell into the category of fighting for peace. It is true that we did not know at the time that he was also fighting for peace with Goli otok and similar “resorts” surrounded by barbed wire.

There is also a Nobel Peace Prize. US President Obama received it once, at the very beginning of his term, who then often fought for peace with military interventions. He also understood the fight for peace literally.

One stolen monument to such “peace fighters” is of course enough. Too much actually! I am convinced that the time has come to erect a similar monument once again and dedicate it to true Slovenian history from Carantania to independence. Not a monument to peace, but a monument to the Slovenian struggle for existence!

We must build a sanctuary, as Vili Kovačič says. And I agree with him that such a monument should not be in Ljubljana. Ljubljana, which elects Janković, does not deserve such a monument. Such a project would be impossible on the ground of Ljubljana anyway. Let’s put it in some lofty place, as is the Slovenian tradition. We have churches – sanctuaries – on almost all peaks. Let’s build another one, this time in the service of national history and the future of Slovenia.

The owner of the monument should be a foundation, which would also collect money and manage the construction. The walls inside would be covered with frescoes, which would depict the most important events from our 1,500-year past in historical sequence – from and including Carantania to independence. The images on the frescoes should be realistic and not some abstract mixture of colours and shapes. The rooms would be filled with statues of our important men of the past, with original objects and showcases with documents. There should be enough space around the monument for meetings.

Of course, we should not listen to the comments and “advice” of those “historians” who tell us that we Slovenes exist because Trubar named us that way, or which is even more crazy, that we only came into being as a nation in the 19th century. We owe this to all the great people of our past and to all future generations of Slovenians. This would also be the only real answer to those who cancelled the Museum of Slovenian Independence.


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